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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/159

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FUTURE OF THE NEGRO IN THE SOUTH.

ployments demanding more skill and, because of that skill, giving a better intellectual station. The mechanical employments of the day are ever gaining in their culture-giving powers. The complication of the machines which are used, and the mysterious nature of the powers which they apply, seem to make them more effective means of enlargement than the old simple tools. Those who have observed the process by which the horse-car driver of a decade ago has been converted into the motor-man of to-day have had a chance to see what the control of energies may do for them. I feel safe in saying, from the basis of personal experience with the negroes, that somewhere near one third of them are ht to be trained for mechanical employment of a fairly high grade. They will need more instruction than the average whites, but they will have a keen interest in their work, and are more likely than the whites to lead up their children in their own trades. For such employment the types which, for lack of a better name, I have termed the Zulu and the Semetic are clearly well fitted. Here and there in the South we find these people of the abler stocks already so employed.

There seems no reason to believe that there is at present enough race prejudice in the South to oppose any effective resistance to negroes entering on any such employment as that of the engineer. It is true that among the women operatives in spinning and weaving mills there has been such objection already found as to make it impossible to employ the negro and white in the same rooms. It is, however, improbable that there would be any opposition to having the black women engaged in the industry, provided the personal association with the whites was not required. Whatever resistance it would be necessary to overcome in order to make the negro free to engineering employments would proceed from the poor white class or from Northern loom operators who brought to the South the obdurate hatred of the negro which is so strong in the regions where he is rarely seen. The old slave-holding class, and those who inherit their motives, will, I am convinced, welcome the effort to open such places to well-trained blacks. As an evidence of the state of mind of this ruling class, I may relate an experience of a year or two ago in one of the most remote corners of the extreme South:

I was lodged for some days in a small rustic inn whereto came, in the evening, a dozen men of the planter class to spin yarns, smoke and drink. They had all been Confederate soldiers—some of them were the very remnants of war. Willingly they allowed the talk to be led to the question as to the future of the black people. They showed their interest in all the forms of trade schooling that could be given them, and their contempt for the results of the literary education which they have received. Repeated reference was made to the great work that Booker Washington was doing at Tuskegee, and for it there